The standoff between Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat continues. Wade has sacrificed quite a bit of money over the years to help the Heat have flexibility in trying to improve the roster. When LeBron James left for Cleveland in 2014, Wade gave up a considerable amount of money by opting out of his deal and it backfired when the Heat lost LeBron and needed the flexibility to try to piece together a competitive roster. He hasn't managed to convince the Heat to make it up to him since then by giving him a big deal.
The Heat are still trying to maintain flexibility by re-signing Hassan Whiteside and trying to convince Kevin Durant to take his talents to South Beach. But Wade wants the respect of a franchise player, considering he has been asked to embody their "Heat Lifer" marketing campaign, and he may not feel like he's getting that.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical, Miami's initial offer to Wade didn't sit well at all with its veteran star:
The Heat's initial offer of $10 million annually - which would've constituted a 50 percent pay cut from his $20 million 2015-16 salary - deeply angered Wade, league sources told The Vertical. Even with the Heat planning to counter to a higher figure, league sources said, Wade has been insistent on starting to explore the market and meet with teams once he returns from an overseas vacation, league sources said.
So as he tries to navigate negotiations with the Heat, he's now reaching out to other teams to create a bidding war of sorts. Four teams, including the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks, are in the hunt as Wade dares the Heat to call his bluff.
Dwyane Wade is in contract talks with the Knicks & Bucks and could schedule meetings next week, sources told ESPN.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 1, 2016
Wojnarowski is also reporting the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets are also involved in the pursuit and the most aggressive of the lot. Wade is seeking somewhere in the 2-3 year range and $20 million per season as the price tag.
The Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks have started a courtship process that has included offers in length of two and three years and upward of $20 million a season -- a salary the Heat so far have been reluctant to offer, league sources said.
The Nuggets and Bulls have been among the most aggressive pursuers of Wade, league sources said.
Milwaukee has been open to sitting down and talking with Wade, but it doesn't have the salary-cap space - nor yet the full inclination - to make that kind of a commitment to Wade, league sources said.
Whether Wade should still be paid like a franchise guy is tough to determine. He received a one-year, $20 million deal last season after declining his player option. He isn't being given long-term security and franchise money from the Heat because they know they need more than just him to become title contenders again. At some point, you have to wonder if Wade wants the lifetime-achievement deal Kobe Bryant received from the Los Angeles Lakers for his final two years (nearly $50 million) or if he wants the Heat to keep trying to build a title contender.
Perhaps four teams and two of them being highly aggressive will make Pat Riley blink in this situation, but he usually doesn't.